A body can be considered fit and healthy when it receives a balanced diet of the correct nutrients. These are obtainable from eating the right foods and/or supplementing with the vitamins and minerals which are to an extent present in high enough levels within the foods anyway. Supplements are a way of making up for not having absorbed enough nutrients from the various foods for whatever reason. This may be because we do not like that particular food, so will never eat it, or perhaps because we have an allergy to it. Nut allergies are an example. In the UK, 1 in 50 children will be affected by this, when their immune systems react badly to the protein found in nuts.
So, ignoring nuts if you need to, let us think about some common foods that our body will appreciate us seeking out in our mission to keep fit and healthy.
If there is a vegetable to try and be fond of then it has to be broccoli. This is because it contains Fibre, calcium, folate, potassium, and phytonutrients.
Fibre, or roughage as it is also known, has been linked to lowering the risk of strokes, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and also bowel cancer. These are the major conditions that you might avoid by adding broccoli to your diet. However, you can also benefit from more fibre to help as a preventative measure against constipation and to improve digestion. So, there are some immediate benefits to consider as well as the potential long-term gains.
Thinking about the other nutrients in broccoli:
Calcium is good for maintaining strong bones. Folate assists the body in producing red blood cells and so preventing anaemia. Potassium, apart from regulating muscle contractions as well as nerve signals, may help reduce blood pressure and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones. Now, I feel sure that you are wondering what phytonutrients are. Well, these are natural compounds found in plant foods like fruit and vegetables. They work with other essential nutrients in promoting good health.
An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, if not the dentist. They do, after all, contain citrus acid which will erode teeth if given the chance. However, all fruits are otherwise healthy and good for a balanced diet. They contribute, for instance, towards the 5 pieces of fruit per day that we are supposed to consume as part of our diet.
Only certain fish are considered oily enough in terms of their health benefits in this regard. These will include anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, and trout. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that will benefit your heart and nervous system. Also, of course, fish is considered to be one of the brain foods.
There are few foods better for protein than an egg. Protein maintains and repairs tissues in the body. Also, an egg contains vitamins B-2 and B-12, which are vital to preserving energy and generating red blood cells.
Not surprisingly, most of the egg’s vitamins and minerals are contained within the yolk of the egg.
As a cautionary note, you should not consume too many eggs because they do contain cholesterol which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. You are allowed seven eggs per week without it having any effect, though, according to a study on the subject.
Ignore nuts at your peril, unless you have a nut allergy. They contain many nutrients that the body will benefit from. Also, your allergy may just be to peanuts.
Almonds contain calcium, fibre, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin E. The body will use iron to make haemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to other parts of the body. Almonds have also been associated with reducing total cholesterol levels.
Brazil nuts or Bertholletia excelsa are a wonderful source of protein and carbohydrates. In addition, they contain significant amounts of Vitamin B-1 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc. A combination of magnesium, zinc, and melatonin has been proven to help with insomnia, and zinc supports your immune system and your muscles.
Rich in selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties, brazil nuts reduce inflammation and support brain functions. So, think about them before an exam, perhaps.
Any nut has the advantage of being a quick snack to eat and obtain the nutrients from, providing you are good with nutcrackers. Although, thankfully, many can be purchased in packets with their shells already removed.
So, that’s five common foods that are beneficial to the body by way of the nutrients they provide. Just be careful not to eat too many apples or eggs. But then, everything needs to be in moderation to adhere to the thinking that a balanced diet is a solution to staying fit and healthy.